Category: High Holidays

Yom Kippur Candle Lighting

Yom Kippur Candle Lighting

Following the Yom Kippur meal, candles are lit in a similar fashion to those lit on Rosh Hashanah. A Yizkor candle is also lit.

Yom Kippur Evening Service

Yom Kippur Evening Service

Maariv, the evening service, following Kol Nidrei on Erev Yom Kippur, is similar in many ways to daily Maariv but has notable differences.

Yom Kippur Morning Services

Yom Kippur Morning Services

The Yom Kippur morning service is similar to Rosh Hashanah, with the exception of the Amidah and the selections for the Torah service.

Erev Yom Kippur and the Customs Preceding It

Erev Yom Kippur and the Customs Preceding It

Preparations on Erev Yom Kippur are intrinsic to the awe-inspiring observance of the day: a special meal, candle lighting, and charity.

Kol Nidrei and Being Imperfect Together

Kol Nidrei and Being Imperfect Together

Yom Kippur begins with the dramatic Kol Nidrei service, intended to annul vows made between yourself and God.

Yom Kippur Yizkor Service

Yom Kippur Yizkor Service

The Memorial Service, Yizkor, is recited on Yom Kippur, one of four times throughout the year, to remember loved ones and Jewish martyrs.

Shemini Atzeret: Chilling with God

Shemini Atzeret: Chilling with God

Shemini Atzeret is a holiday that has left Jews puzzled for generations, but it’s really about our intimate relationship with God.

Jewish Halloween: Hoshana Rabbah

Jewish Halloween: Hoshana Rabbah

Rather than prohibit Halloween (and turn Jewish kids off), we have an opportunity to talk about Hoshana Rabbah and our heritage of ghost stories.

What’s Water Got to Do With It?

What’s Water Got to Do With It?

How does the imagery of water and rain connect Shemini Atzreet and Simchat Torah? What can we learn from this?

Just the Tip of the Etrog

Just the Tip of the Etrog

Reflecting on the idea that a tiny, fragile protuberance can make an entire ritual object unfit for use is absurd. Here’s what it teaches us.

What Does it Mean to Dwell in the Sukkah?

What Does it Mean to Dwell in the Sukkah?

Living in the Sukkah can mean just living in an outdoor hut for a week, but it can also bring so much more meaning into your life.

Navigating Yom Kippur with Toddlers and Young Children

Navigating Yom Kippur with Toddlers and Young Children

Yom Kippur with young children can be a challenge. Here are some tips for making the holiday meaningful for them and for you.

Why Do We Read Jonah On Yom Kippur?

Why Do We Read Jonah On Yom Kippur?

With lessons on failure, the value of admitting our mistakes, and allowing ourselves and others to apologize, the Book of Jonah has much to teach us.

Tashlikh: A Quick Overview

Tashlikh: A Quick Overview

One of the beautiful customs associated with Rosh Hashanah is Tashlikh, a brief service that takes place by a body of water.

Are There Only Ten Days of Repentance Each Year?

Are There Only Ten Days of Repentance Each Year?

Teshuvah in the 10 days of Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are sacred days, but what about the days before and beyond those?

5 Myths about T’shuvah

5 Myths about T’shuvah

Five myths that we tell ourselves about t’shuvah that keep us from doing it skillfully or doing it at all.

What is Tashlich?

What is Tashlich?

What is Tashlich? How do you do it, what is its history, what are the environmental concerns and, of course, why I love Tashlich.

Dress to Impress Yourself…Into the Book of Life

Dress to Impress Yourself…Into the Book of Life

Sara Beth Berman teaches us: Everything you need to know about clothing the body that holds your precious soul for the High Holidays.

What to Read to Prepare for the High Holidays this Year

What to Read to Prepare for the High Holidays this Year

Rabbi Mordechai Rackover recommends these reads to help you prepare for the themes, liturgy, and spirit of the High Holidays.

Rosh Hashanah Musaf Service

Rosh Hashanah Musaf Service

The Musaf Service for Rosh Hashanah contains familiar opening and closing blessings of the Amidah with the usual High Holiday interpolations.

The Shofar on Rosh Hashanah

The Shofar on Rosh Hashanah

Sounding of the shofar is a characteristic mitzvah of Rosh Hashanah. The holiday is alternatively called the Day of Sounding the Shofar. 

Rosh Hashanah Torah Reading

Rosh Hashanah Torah Reading

Rosh Hashanah Torah reading includes Abraham, Sarah, and the Binding of Isaac. Haftarot tell the story of Samuel and other relevant themes.

Rosh Hashanah Synagogue Services

Rosh Hashanah Synagogue Services

For most people, Rosh Hashanah means a lot of time spent praying in the synagogue. These are the complex explanations behind those prayers.

Could The Terminator Do Teshuvah?

Could The Terminator Do Teshuvah?

Rabbi Dan Ornstein teaches us: human freedom is ineradicable and that our dignity is predicated upon our moral responsibility.

My Bangin’ Rosh Hashanah Seder

My Bangin’ Rosh Hashanah Seder

Emily Jaeger explains to us: What is the Rosh Hashanah seder, how do we perform it, and why you might consider doing one too.

Being Called by God

Being Called by God

When we say hineni to ourselves and our lives have a spiritual center, our existence will be more meaningful, and we’ll live a more purposeful life.

Rosh Hashanah At Home

Rosh Hashanah At Home

Personal and at-home Rosh Hashanah rituals include candle lighting, eating apples with honey, and sharing meals.

Candle Lighting for Rosh Hashanah

Candle Lighting for Rosh Hashanah

We usher in Rosh Hashanah with lighting candles, just as we do on Shabbat. On Rosh Hashanah we use a special festival blessing

Why Do We Ask for Forgiveness in Elul?

Why Do We Ask for Forgiveness in Elul?

Asking for forgiveness not only cultivates empathy and humility, but it provides an opportunity for renewal.

The Days Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

The Days Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the Ten Days of Repentance and include the Fast of Gedaliah.

Elul’s Shofar: A Poem

Elul’s Shofar: A Poem

Elul’s shofar blasts daily remind us of all we need to do to prepare spiritually for the upcoming holidays and the start of the new year.

How do I observe Selichot?

How do I observe Selichot?

It is said that Selichot opens the gates of heaven for the High Holy Days. This Selichot, do what opens your heart to the gates of heaven.

The Challenge of Faith

The Challenge of Faith

In faith: What matters in such things is the attitude of the one who is asking the question. What matters is an orientation of faithfulness.

Customs before Rosh Hashanah

Customs before Rosh Hashanah

There are customs in order to prepare for Rosh Hashanah, including Selichot, physical changes in the synagogue, and immersing in the mikveh.

Living With No Regrets

While introspection is healthy, too much regret can discourage us from embracing our unchangeable past and our openness to future choices.

(Not) Announcing Rosh Hashanah

(Not) Announcing Rosh Hashanah

On Rosh Hashanah, we do not recite the traditional blessings announcing a new month for a variety of different reasons.

What are selichot?

What are Selichot?

Selichot are special prayers recited in anticipation of the High Holidays introducing us to the themes of the upcoming holidays.

When is the Jewish New Year?

When is the Jewish New Year?

There are four New Years, each with its own purpose. That said, the counting of the new year begins with Rosh Hashanah, in the seventh month.

Non-Ritual Ways of Preparing in Elul

Non-Ritual Ways of Preparing in Elul

There are many ways to spiritually prepare in Elul for the Yamim Nora’im, the Days of Awe, also known as the High Holidays.

Rituals and Prayers Recited in the Month of Elul

Rituals and Prayers Recited in Elul

The ritual preparations for the High Holidays begin a full month in advance with the onset of the month of Elul.

Seliḥot: What do we recite?

Seliḥot: What do we recite?

Seliḥot, a series of penitential prayers, are recited in anticipation of Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Repentance. Here’s what to recite.